chapter  4
21 Pages

Some Chinese Ghosts

In 1967 one of Hearn's more obscure works, his Creole cookbook, La Cuisine Creole, was attractively re-published. The origin of the recipes may be a matter of conjecture; the style has a Hearnian sprinkling not normally found in works of this kind. Around the same time was published Combo Zhebes, a dictionary of Creole proverbs which was a compilation of over 350 proverbs selected from six Creole dialects - those of French Guyana, Haiti, New Orleans, Martinique, Mauritius and Trinidad. He had picked up the proverbs when studying the patois of the Louisiana negro, the local name of which is 'Gombo'. The bulk of work on the book, which he termed 'a mere compilation ... from many unfamiliar sources', was done between 1881 and late 1883. He tried, unsuccessfully, to interest his future publisher, Houghton Mifflin of Boston, in it, claiming that he was not interested in profit, only in contributing to folklore. 2 Ultimately it was brought out by Will H. Coleman, the publisher of the cookbook, in New York, early in 1885.